Ipoh: India lost 3-4 to Australia in their opening match of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium here Saturday.
India made a valiant effort to come back into the game after going 0-3 down but Trent Mitton's 53rd minute strike proved to be the difference between the two teams.
Australia started the brighter of the two and earned a penalty corner in the 19th minute but Timothy Deavin's drag flick was intercepted Manpreet.
Australia attacked with great fervour and created quite a few chances but India's goalkeeper PR Sreejesh kept them at bay with fantastic saves.
Sreejesh, though, was finally beaten in the 24th minute as he padded away a Deavin penalty corner attempt only for the lurking Matt Ghodes to hammer the rebound into the roof of the net to give Australia a well deserved lead.
India lacked creativity in the first half and created few chances but fortunately still went into the break trailing by just one.
The Aussies though got off to a flying start in the second with Glenn Simpson finishing off a penalty corner in the 38th minute to give his team a two goal lead.
There was no let-up for the India defence as Matt Ghodes got the third for Australia only a minute later.
Rupinderpal Singh reduced the deficit scoring India's first goal in the tournament in the 40th minute.
Mandeep Singh missed a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit further but inexplicably missed in front of an open goal.
But India were not to be denied as Malak Singh scored the second in the very next minute, his shot sailing in under the pad of Aussie keeper George Bazely from an acute angle.
Australia did not take long to restore their two goal advantage but were a shade lucky.
Robert Hammond played a penalty corner push to Trent Mitton whose deft touch beat Sreejesh.
Though Rupinderpal scored his brace in the 68th minute, it was too late for India to salvage anything from the match.
India next play South Korea Sunday.